Select Page

The
Notre Dame
Story

A Timeline of Excellence in Education

Notre Dame College is proud to celebrate 100 years of academic excellence and preparing the next generation of leaders, entrepreneurs and difference makers through a high-quality Roman Catholic liberal arts education. We’ve grown from a small, newly established college in 1922 to a nationally recognized institution offering 30 majors, including individually designed majors, and graduate degrees through five academic divisions.

This interactive timeline highlights memorable milestones from the past century as part of our Centennial Year celebration. It’s a reminder of our origins, the many talented individuals who have built our rich history and an inspiration for those who will write the story of our next 100 years and beyond.

Indicates an Academic Event

Indicates an Event with the Sisters of Notre Dame

Indicates a Campus Event

1922

Founder's Day

Notre Dame College opens its doors to 13 women and 11 novices on September 18.

1923

Articles of Incorporation

The articles of incorporation for the College were signed and filed with the State of Ohio on March 30, 1923.

1923

Finding a Home

The Sisters of Notre Dame signed a 10-year lease with the Jordan family for 39 acres along Green Road in South Euclid, with an option to buy the land after 10 years.

1924

Expanding Footprint

The Sisters purchase 15 additional acres with an appraised value of $300,000, allowing them to expand the campus and accommodate more students. A total of 107 women are enrolled in the College’s extension courses.

1925

First Graduating Class

Notre Dame College celebrates the first graduates of its two-year (certificate only) teacher training school. All graduates must have an approved, 3,000-word thesis and pay a graduation fee of $5.

1925

Housing More Students

Due to overcrowding, the Music Hall and Art Hall on Ansel Road are used for classes.

1926

FIRST FOUR-YEAR DEGREE GRADUATES

Fourteen students receive their bachelor’s degrees and state certificates to teach in Ohio high schools, becoming the College’s first graduating class of four-year college degree students. The Ohio Department of Education approves the College for teacher certification in biology, chemistry, English, foreign languages, physics, social sciences, history, government and physical sciences for grades 7-12.

1926

Rising Enrollment

A total of 160 women are enrolled in classes as the new academic year begins.

1926

Building a Future

Construction begins at the South Euclid site for the new Notre Dame College campus. Sister M. Evarista Harks, Sr. Mary Odila Miller and driver Bernard Muhle represent the 32-member faculty at the event.

1928

Moving In

The first group of 82 students, ranging from first-year students through seniors, begins classes in the new Administration Building.

1929

New Building Showcased

The first view booklet of the new college building in South Euclid is published and ready for circulation.

1930

Notre Dame Library

The Notre Dame library reports 10,000 volumes and 100 periodicals.

1931

Enrollment is Up

Enrollment is 157, 88 of whom are first-year students.

1932

New Learning Opportunities

The College offers 205 courses in eight departments, and the faculty numbers 27.

1934

First Year Students

Forty-nine first-year students enroll.

1935

New Degree Offered

Notre Dame becomes the only Catholic college in Ohio to be certified for a degree in Health and Physical Education for grades 7-12.
1938

History Maker

Betty Brown becomes the first Black student to graduate from Notre Dame with a degree in art and music and returns as a faculty member in the early 1950s.

1940

Financial Aid Frontier

The College is the first in the country to offer “Financial Planning for the Individual & the Family.”
1942

Changing With the Times

The College implements the war-time accelerated program, allowing students to complete degrees in three years thanks to three 10-week summer sessions. Notre Dame is one of the first women’s colleges to respond to the government’s plea at the National Conference of College and University Presidents to accelerate classes to meet the nation’s needs during the national emergency.

1942

Making the Grade

The college awards 45 degrees to students.
1942

Keeping America Safe

Faculty member Francis Grose, a certified teacher of the Air Raid Warden course, offers the five-week course to faculty and students of the College. He was the first male administrator at the College. Fourteen students and 24 nuns pass the final exam and become Air Raid Wardens. Additionally, 1930 graduate Loretta Mersy becomes the first Notre Dame College graduate to earn a commission in the “Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service” in World War II.
1943

Accelerated Learning

The first graduating class under the accelerated wartime program has its commencement ceremony. Wartime course offerings include pre-flight aeronautics, applied and field math, mechanical drawing, radio writing, war economics and industrial drafting.
1943

Hope and Healing

The College agrees to serve as an emergency facility for Rainbow Hospital, located at the corner of Green and Rainbow roads.
1950

Affordable Education

Tuition for the College is $137.50 per semester and room and board are $250 per semester.
1955

Striving for Excellence

Suzanne Gelin earns the first summa cum laude designation in the College’s history.

1960

Paving the Way

Construction begins on the West Wing of the Administration Building.

1960

Continued Campus Growth

“Heads Up,” the first general public fundraising campaign in the history of the College, kicks off to raise money for the construction of the West Wing and a new residence hall, later called Providence Hall.
1961

Breaking Ground

The College hosts the official Providence Hall groundbreaking in conjunction with the Dalton-Dalton Associates architectural firm.
1961

Placing the Last Brick

Contractor Stanley Roediger, working with architect Thomas D. McLaughlin, completes the west wing of the Notre Dame College Administration Building using a total of 160,000 carefully matched bricks.

1962

Celebrating New Beginnings

Providence Hall, a campus residence for the Sisters of Notre Dame, and the west wing of the Administration Building are dedicated.

1964

Pioneers In Physics

Notre Dame College becomes the only women’s college in Northeast Ohio to offer a major in physics.

1967

Education for All

Notre Dame College is approved by the Ohio Department of Education to offer certification for special education.

1967

Increasing Student Amenities

The College hosts a formal groundbreaking ceremony for a new dormitory (Alumnae Hall) and dining hall/student center, later known as the Connelly Center, with Alumnae Hall to be built using the unique “lift-slab” method.

1968

Move-In Day

Sophomore and junior students move into the newly completed Alumnae Hall, named in honor of 1,800 loyal alumni supporters.

1968

Finishing the Work

Crews complete construction of the Connelly Center, named in honor of William C. Connelly, founder and the first president of the Advisory Board. Connelly died four years before the building was finished.

1969

Diversifying Degree Offerings

The College’s sociology department launches the Law Enforcement Education Program, where men can obtain an Associate in the Arts (A.A.) degree. The program is established under the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968.

1969

Forging New Ground

Construction begins on the Clara Fritzsche Library, in partnership with the Rowley, Payer, Huffman and Leithold architectural firm.

1971

A New Resource for Learning

The Clara Fritzsche Library building is completed, creating a valuable resource for research and learning. Students and staff form a human chain connecting the old library in the Administration Building to the new facility and pass more than 53,000 books and periodicals to their new home. The library officially opens in the summer of 1971.

1972

A Day of Dedication

The Clara Fritzsche Library, Alumnae Hall and the Connelly Center are officially dedicated.

1975

History-Making Men

The first two male students graduate from the College with A.A. degrees.

1975

Education for All

The College establishes the Lifelong Learning Center for the education of mature women to ease the return to college for women over the age of 25. Additionally, a 100-percent increase in part-time student enrollment over the past decade leads to the creation of a full continuing education program in the fall of 1975.

1976

Learning for Life

The Lifelong Learning Center expands its continuing education program to offer both credit and non-credit classes.
1978

Visited By a Saint

Mother Teresa of Calcutta visits the Notre Dame College campus.

1978

After Hours Learning

After announcing the new Weekend College in April, Sister Mary LeRoy Finn opens the program to 40 women over the age of 25 who wish to pursue a degree.

1980

Cost to Attend

Tuition at Notre Dame is $2,160 per year, and room and board is $1,400 per year.

1981

Financial Aid Recipients

Sixty-five percent of Notre Dame students receive financial aid.

1983

Weekend College Pioneers

Twelve pioneer Weekend College (WECO) students, who completed their coursework in July 1982, become the first WECO grads to receive their degrees.

1985

Teaching Ratios

The student-to-faculty ratio is 9:1.

1987

Where Falcons Take Flight

Construction begins on the Joseph H. Keller Center, built as a home for several of the College’s athletic teams.

1987

A New Athletic Era

Bishop Anthony Pilla dedicates the newly completed Keller Center in honor of Joseph H. Keller, president of the College’s Board of Advisors from 1975-82 and first recipient of the Fidelia Award. The following month, the College offers an all-inclusive pass for the Keller Center to the families of full-time faculty and staff for $175.

1990

Change in Board Leadership

The College changes from seven Sisters of Notre Dame trustees to a Board of 42 lay and religious leaders, operating under a revised constitution and by-laws.

1991

Attracting a Crowd

Keller Center staff report that approximately 2,700 people are using the facility each month.

1992

NDC Basketball Athletes Achieve

For the first time in school history, women’s basketball earns a berth in the NAIA Division II Post-Season Tournament.

1993

Diverse Student Body

Minority enrollment at the College is 31 percent.

1994

Building Educational Leaders

Notre Dame’s Master of Education program launches with seven students. It is the College’s first graduate program.

1994

Historical Presentation

Students in the new Master of Education program give the first presentation of research projects in program history.

1994

Mastering Higher Learning

Marcia Anselmo and Lu Kinblade become the first Masters of Education graduates for the College. One year later, Bruce I. Brownfield became the first male to receive the M.Ed. degree.

1995

Updated Technology

The IBM computer lab is fully networked and equipped with CD-ROM, and the MAC lab receives new computers and software.

1996

Connected Campus

Fiber optic cables are installed for campus-wide computer network, which will allow access to the Internet, World Wide Web, etc., and the first “ATM” bank machine is installed to dispense cash for the convenience of students and employees.

1997

Diamond Jubilee

Notre Dame marks its Diamond Jubilee. The College celebrates her 75th anniversary with plays, concerts, exhibits, a time capsule and additional events for alumni, students, faculty, staff and the community.

1998

Jeopardy Contestant

Notre Dame alumna Sr. Eileen Quinlan is a contestant on “Jeopardy,” the popular TV game show, while a graduate student in Chicago.

1999

Campus Residents

A total of 94 students reside on campus.

2000

Turn of the Millennium Enrollment

Enrollment is 219 full-time undergraduates; 502 part-time undergraduates (includes 37 audits); and 125 graduate students. The College has 37 full-time faculty and 64 part-time faculty.

2001

Strive for Excellence

The Center for Excellence begins operation. It’s renamed the Center for Professional Development in 1998 and offers programs in teaching, technology and learning.

2001

Big Men on Campus

The first three men enroll as undergraduate students alongside 875 female students.

2003

Goodbye Alumnae Hall

The College’s Board of Directors votes to change the name of Alumnae Hall to Petersen Hall in recognition of a $1.19 million bequest from the estate of 1938 Notre Dame College graduate Helen Foose Petersen.

2005

Succeeding Together

118 members of the first co-ed class graduate.

2005

Student Centered Support

The Academic Support Center for Students with Learning Differences opens. (In 2021, the center is renamed as the Thrive Learning Center to better reflect its student-centered purpose.)

2007

Going Online

The Teacher Education Evening Licensure (TEEL) program, changes to an online format for courses offered at its satellite locations in Toledo, Akron/Canton, Cincinnati, Columbus, and Youngstown.

2009

Creating a Place to Call Home

The new North Hall residence hall opens. The four-level building has 84 beds in apartment-style housing. Students can also opt for single rooms with private baths.

2009

North and South

The College opens South Hall, a new apartment-style residence hall for 204 students, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony, reception and tour. Parking for 215 is later added.

2011

Extending Borders

President Andrew P. Roth announces that the NDC board of directors has approved the purchase of the former Regina High School at 1857 South Green Road. This acquisition provides space to construct a new main entrance off South Green Road.

2011

Ready to Fly

More than 170 Notre Dame College graduates receive their diplomas.

2011

21st Century Degrees

The College launches the online graduate program in Security Policy Studies (SPS) to educate students for careers in intelligence analysis, emergency management and homeland security. In addition to a M.A. degree, four certificates are offered.

2014

Student Body Growth

Enrollment grows to a record 2,156 students, with 1,346 full-time undergraduates and 340 graduate students. All students are now able to use CashNet to pay library fines.

2014

Era of Expansion

The $3 million renovation of the Regina Building is completed in 2014, creating a new Thrive Center, formerly the Academic Support Center for Students with Learning Differences and the new Shaughnessy Center Nursing Innovation and Education. The faculty has grown to 61 full-time members, 57 percent of whom possess a PhD or terminal degree.

2014

Regina Hall Reimagined

The Regina Hall South Wing Blessing and Ribbon Cutting ceremony marks the completion of improvements to the third and first floor corridors as well as upgrades to electrical, sprinkler and heating/cooling systems and a new elevator, new roof and new restrooms. Additionally, 12,500 square feet of the second floor are remodeled into nearly 30 separate rooms, including private tutoring and testing spaces, computer labs, offices, lounge areas, and a conference area for the Academic Support Center. Nearly 15,000 square feet of the building’s third floor are converted into a clinical learning resource center.

2016

A Space for Success

The College creates a dedicated space for the Enterprise Development Center thanks to a $100,000 grant from the Burton D. Morgan Foundation, allowing for the expansion of entrepreneurship-related academic and experiential programming.

2017

Success on the Mat

Notre Dame wrestling wins its second NCAA Division II national team championship.

2017

Gathering of the Sisterhood

The College hosts the Sisters of Notre Dame national summit.

2018

Investing in Entrepreneurship

The Burton D. Morgan Foundation awards a $115,000 grant to the College to support the continued growth of the Entrepreneurship Program, including the launch of the new Entrepreneurship co-major.

2018

Leading Notre Dame Forward

J. Michael Pressimone, Ed.D., is named the 15th president of Notre Dame College.

2020

Developing Business Leaders

Notre Dame’s new 10-course MBA program is offered to a pioneer group of 20 students. Students can complete the program in 12 months (full-time) or less by using a maximum of six transfer credits. The College also offers 8-week accelerated online and on-campus terms, as well as a part-time option that allows students to complete the program in 24 months. Discounts are offered for active duty military, U.S. Armed Services veterans and employees of the Cleveland Catholic Diocese.

2021

Keeping the World Safe

The Notre Dame Center for Intelligence and Security Studies opens, preparing students for a future in the fast-growing world of intelligence and security.

2022

Cause for Celebration

The College celebrates its Centennial, marking 100 years of growth with a continual focus on an education that lays a foundation for success for the rest of their lives.

Support Our Centennial

Give to Notre Dame College this milestone year. Your gift supports the next generation of students and cements the legacy of Notre Dame College in Northeast Ohio.